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Phila. Lawmakers Approve Strong Penalties For Using ATVs In City Parks

(File photo:  all-terrain vehicles confiscated by the Philadelphia Police Department.  Credit: CBS3)

(File photo: all-terrain vehicles confiscated by the Philadelphia Police Department. Credit: CBS3)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council today gave overwhelming approval to a measure that reins in the use of all-terrain vehicles (“ATVs”) on sidewalks and in parks.

Approved was a measure that imposes steep fines for ATV use on properties controlled by the city, including parkland and sidewalks.

The sponsor, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, says once the mayor signs it, the measure will take effect next March.

“We deliberately delayed the implementation of this so that we can work with the police department to make sure that families and young people — and those who see this as a sport — now know there are serious penalties attached to violations of the rules,” she said today.

The first-time fine would be stiff: $2,000, and possible forfeiture of the vehicle.

Current state law governs city streets, and the state already imposes fines up to $300 for ATV use on roadways.

brown blondell  dunn Phila. Lawmakers Approve Strong Penalties For Using ATVs In City Parks

(Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown speaks to reporters at Philadelphia City Hall. Credit: Mike Dunn)

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Reynolds Brown says this is just a start: she and the Nutter administration are hoping to find a privately funded site for an ATV-riding recreational park, “to bring in ATV riders and the Parks Department, to figure out how we can find appropriate space for this emerging sport. We’re not asking the city to be a financial contributor at all. We’re looking to small business owners and a couple of corporations who are ready to sit down and help underwrite this sport,” she said.

The measure was authored by the Nutter administration, and the mayor’s signature is expected. City officials say there have been at least three fatalities in recent years attributed to ATV usage. And Reynolds Brown says this bill is overdue:

“It would have been irresponsible of us to know that this goes on, to see that young people, to know that a young person was killed, because of the activity of ATV riders.”